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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY    AND   THE    INDIVIDUAL

idle vagabonds, I was told, but to me they seemed
to be enjoying more of what makes life a boon and
not a curse than fell to the lot of my anxious hard-
working hosts. When I tried to explain this feeling,
however, I was met with a blank and total lack of
comprehension.

People do not always remember that politics,
economics, and social organization generally, belong
in the realm of means, not ends. Our political and
social thinking is prone to what may be called the
"administrator's fallacy," by which I mean the habit
of looking upon a society as a systematic whole, of a
sort that is thought good if it is pleasant to contem-
plate as a model of order, a planned organism with
parts neatly dovetailed into each other. But a society
does not, or at least should not, exist to satisfy an
external survey, but to bring a good life to the
individuals who compose it. It is in the individuals,
not in the whole, thaŁ ujtma^yalue jsj

A good society is a means to a good life for those who
compose it, not something having a separate kind of
excellence on its own account.
When it is said that a nation is an organism, an
analogy is being used which may be dangerous if its
limitations are not recognized. Men and the higher
animals are organisms in a strict sense: whatever
good or evil befalls a man befalls him as a single
person, not this or that part of him. If I have tooth-
ache, or a pain in my toe, it is I that have the pin,
ancl it would not exist if no nerves connected the
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